Before I went on my RTW travels, I could be often found stalking other travel blogs but what really interested me was the travel blogger behind the witticisms of their writing. Who are they? Are they real? Are they fit? So hence, for a long time coming, I wanted to do some travel blogging interviews and crack them open for their rawness inspiration of travel inside. Think Michael Parkinson.
Engineering his way onto the blogosphere, he tells us of his quirky travels started with the perils of online dating. Travelling in far flung places ranging from Mongolia to Brazil and currently now in India, this travelling engineer delights to tell you his finds and experiences whilst on the road. Now he hopes to be an ex-pat in Canada but not before travelling in Thailand, Singapore and Australia first! Without much further ado, I give you Joshua of Engineer on the Road!
2. Twitter: @GI_Joshi
3. Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/engineerontheroad
4. Blog URL: www.engineerontheroad.com
5. Where are you originally from and where are you now?
I’m originally from Paisley, the largest town in Scotland which is just outside of Glasgow, but right now I’m working in a fairly remote part of Gujarat state in India.
6. Describe yourself in 3 words:
Independent. Polymath. Zany.
7. Tell us about your blog. What makes your blog unique from all the other bloggers out there?
The main things I try to do with Engineer on the Road are discover new places (both destinations and hidden gems wherever I find myself), break down stereotypes and share my personal story. The main topics I usually focus on are culture, engineering and LGBT issues, all within a travel/global context. What makes me unique? Well how many absolutely fabulous world, traveling engineers do you know? (Ed Note: Beats me! Go on, give us a clue…)
8. Why did you start writing a blog? And did you find it easy to set up?
I started writing a blog when I worked in Mongolia one summer during my undergraduate studies. I knew access to email and Facebook was going to be more limited than usual, and I didn’t want to spend too much time writing to lots of individual emails answering the same questions, so I started a blog and told people to refer to that. It was fairly easy, I started off in Blogger but I’ve since moved to WordPress, although the actual platform is of minor concern – it’s more important that you can write well.
If you had to travel with 3 other travel bloggers who would they be? I’m really looking forward to visiting David and Auston from Two Bad Tourists (do they count as one or two?) in Spain sometime in the next few months. Derek who’s behind the HoliDaze has been great guy to hang out with – I last saw him in Singapore and if we were in the same part of the world again I’d go out of my way to see him. Number three? Well that’s without a doubt Lola from Lola’s Travels – she’s a babe and so much fun. She’s really encouraged me in my blogging and taught me a lot of important lessons – like that sometimes it’s ok to splash out when traveling. I think maybe that spoiled me and made my traveling a little more luxurious recently.
9. What’s the best advice you can give for new bloggers?
Focus on your writing – on giving practical advice and reflection on your experiences (not just regurgitating everything you did on vacation).
10. Other than a job, what’s the easiest way to make money for travels?
There is no other way; no one is going to pay you to be on perpetual vacation, so you’re going to have to work prior to or during your travels. I was very deliberate in finding myself a job that was very travel intensive and my airfares, food and accommodation is paid for – the downside is I don’t choose where I get to go and I’ve ended up in some not very exciting places. Remember too that travel doesn’t have to involve expensive long-haul flights – it can be somewhere new a mere few miles away.
11. Where have you been in the world? And which was the best, worst, funniest, most random and scariest?
So far I’ve been to 35 countries, with 1 or 2 new countries to go by the end of the year.
Best – Brazil or Myanmar,
Worst – Liechtenstein (sooo boring!)
Funniest – Malta,
Most Random – Faroe Islands as a baby
Scariest – Mozambique
12. Naughtiest experience on your travels?
What happens in Bangkok stays in Bangkok. (Ed Note: Ah, come on, I was counting on you to give us something to be shocked by!)
13. Luggage or Backpack?
I tend to use my roller holdall – I often have to carry extra equipment for work which can be really heavy and it’s the easiest way to move it around.
14. Top 3 items that you would save from your backpack if it was about to be sunk in shark infested waters?
My iPad, passport and credit cards – the only things I need to survive. (Ed Note: I didn’t know iPads are edible…)
15. Skydiving or Bungee Jumping?
16. Best travel idol (aside from me, of course) that you would want to sit next to on the plane?
I’d love to travel with one of my friends who have worked for the UN or international NGO’s – they have some pretty interesting stories to tell and are a whole lot of fun too.
17. What’s your party trick to show to other backpackers in hostels?
I don’t really have anything I do to show off, but I’m generally helpful and offer any advice I can about places I’ve been.
18. Hostel, Guesthouse, Hotel or Couchsurf?
I’ve been living in hotels for the last 14 months. When I travel independently I usually visit friends, but if I don’t know anyone there, I’ll stay in a hostel or hotel depending on how much I’m willing to pay. I rarely do official couch surfing since my time off is usually very last minute which isn’t ideal for it.
19. Day Trip, Backpack or live? UK, Australia or Vietnam?
Backpack the UK, day trip Vietnam and live in Australia.
20. Lonely Planet or Rough Guide?
I tend to go with whichever is most recent/thorough for where I’m going, but to be honest I never use guide books much.
21. Will you go out with me, a sexy, tall, dark and handsome god?
Join the queue 😉 (Ed Note: I don’t do queues)
22. Did you find love on your travels?
I did – when I worked for 3 months in Germany I met a Brazilian guy I ended up seeing for two and a half years. Sadly our lives went in different directions and so it didn’t work out in the end.
23. Would you go on I’m a Celebrity and eat pig’s testicles?
I’m not a fame hungry D-lister so I have no reason to do that. (Ed Note: wait, that was a typo right? You mean Z-lister?)
24. And possibly, the most important question…Neighbours or Home and Away?!
25. Which 3 songs have you played the most on your iPod on your travels?
I don’t have a most played automatic playlist, but since I arrived in India the songs I listened to most are Get Lucky by Daft Punk, Get Outta My Way by Kylie and Love Love by Take That. (Ed Note: Atrocious taste in Music!)
26. You travelled on your own, how did that go for you and did you find it easy to make new friends on the road?
Usually I’ve been really good at making friends as soon as I arrive, and I try making contact with people before I arrive, so I’ve gotten integrated into the life of places really quickly – that happened in Germany, Morocco and Myanmar. It’s not always worked – sometimes you can just find yourself very isolated and there’s not much you can do about it – it happened to me in Sweden and right now in India. My go-to method of making friends is actually through online dating – I’ll admit that it does work. Most of the time.
27. What are your next travel plans?
I’ll be flying back to the UK in a few weeks for some time off and will visit my family and hopefully take a short trip to either New York or Madrid, and then I’m off to Australia to work in Queensland, although I’ll be spending New Year partying in Sydney. In a year I want to be living in Canada as an expat.
28. What’s the best advice you can give to first time travellers?
Knowledge is power – do your research cultural preparation beforehand, so you know what to expect. Be flexible. Have fun. And like I said before, you don’t have to go to Darkest Africa to be a “traveller”; you don’t even have to leave your own country.
29. Finally, tell us a funny travel story…
I was in Brazil with my ex visiting his family. We were about to go out to the circus, and I went to the kitchen to get a class of water. I saw my ex at the sink washing pots and I went up behind him and cave him a tender cuddle from behind. Suddenly he jerked round and went “No!” – It was my ex’s brother! Oops! Fortunately he took it in good humour and just thought I was a bit crazy. (Ed Note: You said it, not me!)
Thanks Josh for doing this interview! If you would like to know more about his journeys, click here.
If you would like to have an interview, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you featured on here!